By Gary HodgsonI recently stumbled onto what probably is the most important discovery of our century. It’s nothing insignificant like the fountain of youth, a cure for the common cold or intelligent life on Mars (or in Washington DC). Nope, I’ve recently discovered something. I’ve discovered the secret to a long, happy marriage. If couple contemplating marriage will follow my directions, they will know immediately if they are marrying the right person. My secret? A SQUEEZE CHUTE!
Yep, those hinged, noisy, finger-pinching, knuckle-rappin, labor saving devices mark the hidden path to marital bliss. Forget showers for the prospective bride that only give her the impression that her towels will always match and her life will always have a place for a cappuccino machine. Discontinue bachelor parties where the groom gets the idea he’ll still be able to get together with his buddies once in a while to have a wild ‘boys night out’ without suffering dire consequences.Instead of these time-honored and totally misleading traditions, here’s my plan. Weeks before the wedding, before the invitations have been printed and the church reserved, assemble the bride, groom, and about 70 uncooperative crossbred cows and one of the industry’s best squeeze chutes. The goal: with no outside help, let the two lovebirds process the cattle through the chute. Once this has been done, if they’re still speaking to each other, this marriage will last. In short, all the problems a couple can encounter in life will be addressed right then and there.
First, there’s the question of authority. Who will be in charge? The boss, you see, gets to run the chute. The submissive partner brings the cattle up the alley to the chute.Once that issue has been addressed, there’s the question of forgiveness. There’ll be one old cow that does not want to go up the alley to the chute. She fights, bellers, and flings all kinds of bodily fluids over the one trying to coax her up the alleyway. Finally, after risking life and limb, the cow charges up the alley and right out of the chute. The ‘boss’ on the head gate will likely miss her. How’s the old forgiveness test going?
Also there are lessons concerning compatibility to be learned. An aggressive ‘type A’ personality on the chute won’t be satisfied with the performance of a laid back ‘type B’ bringing the cattle up. Hollering ‘more cattle’ about 11 times usually brings a premature halt to the test proceedings.I know this system works. Not that long ago, I helped my oldest daughter and her husband work cattle at their feedlot. I was impressed at how well they worked together all day long. He runs the chute; she always has one ready to enter. Those two will make it way past Valentine’s Day.
My first wife and I worked cattle together. That’s probably why I must distinguish between the first and second when speaking of wives. My present partner in life and love helped me put 400 yearling heifers through a chute on one of our dates. Any gal who could stand that is okay by my book. I ran the chute, but she told me how. That’s pretty much our system and it’s a good one.So the next time you see a couple looking all gooey-eyed at each other, don’t buy them a toast, get’em a squeeze chute instead.
My first 'date' with Ryan included repairing a fence for a local rancher when a major storm blew in. Did I mention the horse was loaded in stock racks in the back of the truck. And it began to hail. Second date included roping the meanest, craziest 'calf' 800 pound bull, and Ryan caught him about the time he was leaping over the edge. Ryan sent me after the truck and trailer, I rode up the hill thinking he never asked if I could drive a standard, which I could! And he was sitting at the top of a bluff wondering the same thing!!! And when working cattle there are many times it doesn't go smoothly, including the time I tackled the bottle calf only to step in a ditch-line and to this day I will still say I broke something in my foot. But the point is you have to be able to forgive and still love each other when it's all over with!